39 min 45 sec
Starting a business is hard enough. Try launching and building an entirely new global sport. That’s one heck of a challenge. But when you have a good idea, a product, and an organic way to connect with people, it’s actually possible. Chris Ruder is the CEO of Spikeball, and he initially thought his little business would be a fun side hobby. The company idea even started off with the age old question, “Wouldn’t it be cool if..?” But within five years, that little business with zero employees was earning $1.5 million in revenue and attracting attention around the world. That didn’t happen by magic, though, and on this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Chris and I dug into scaling a company by asking the questions you think are dumb — including to your own customers. For Chris, simply asking, “How did you find out about us?” was the turning point to finding an audience and then nurturing it so that it grows in the most organic way possible. He also gave the inside scoop on his Shark Tank experience, and why he encourages other entrepreneurs to take advantage of that opportunity if they are ever presented with it. Plus, Chris explains how he’s been navigating the supply chain issues, including by finding new ways to expand the company beyond just physical products. Enjoy this episode.Main Takeaways:Ask The Dumb Questions: Many new founders come into an industry with questions that may seem dumb or obvious, but they need to be asked. Find people around you who can help guide you or inform you so that you can continue making the right moves without having to backtrack. This includes asking questions of your customers. Ask them what they think, how they found you, and what made them click “buy.”Set Customers Up To Be the Hero: When you engage with customers, you can offer them the opportunity to be your ambassador, but in the most authentic way. Work with them to develop their own community and following, set them up to be the hero, and in turn, you will see more organic growth and brand love than simply paying people to promote your brand for you.The Shift to Stuff: The last two years have seen a major change in how people shop and what they shop for. Consumers have moved away from experiences and moved toward buying more stuff to fill their time and satisfy their itch. CPG companies have been forced to supply more than ever, and the logistics and supply chains have suffered as a result. Work with your vendors and shipping partners to find more creative solutions, and try to find additional ways to bring manufacturing closer to home — even if that means adding different kinds of goods and services to your product portfolio so that you are not beholden to the supply chain.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here.